Our expert says:
This is perhaps the most common question, even those who exercise regularly. Most people are trying to firm or tone a specific region of the body. Our genes determine where that fat is deposited.
Regardless of the location, the key is a combination of proper exercise and careful diet. Proper exercise means avoiding the myth that you can spot reduce or isolate muscles to tone. Obviously, you can work on muscles and that can help create an appearance that you're after. But that's only a small part of the solution, as perhaps you're seeing in your own situation now.
So for example, if you're trying to tone the abs, a million sit-ups a day is not the sole solution. It certainly has a beneficial effect, as I’ll explain, but by itself is not the solution. So rather than becoming pre-occupied on one area, your aim should be to increase metabolic rate – that’s how you burn fat. You do through regular cardiovascular exercise, which includes cycling, aerobics, taebo, spinning, walking or jogging.
You should then combine this with some weight training. Weight training, which includes sit-ups, is helpful because it increases muscle mass (which has the long-term effect of raising metabolic rate) and because it literally helps create more muscle. More muscle means a more toned appearance. Just doing sit-ups is a start, but you can raise the impact by doing a variety of exercises that target different abdominal muscles. I’d suggest speaking to a trainer at the gym to discover these.
Finally, remember that diet is the great “enabler”. If exercise is perfect, but diet poor, then you undermine your progress. I think this might be particularly relevant to you, because of what you say about your weight becoming fat - if that is happening, then it's because your energy intake is greater than your energy output, so you may need to look at your diet. So cover that base, perhaps by seeing a dietician, and get cover all three bases.
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